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Back to school: New principals at some schools

By Sarah Nagem
snagem@salisburypost.com
A number of Rowan-Salisbury Schools have new principals. Below are brief profiles of them.
China Grove Middle
Name: James V. Davis
Education: Davis graduated from Freedom High School in Morganton. He attended the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in middle grades education and a gifted education certification. He earned master’s degrees in middle and secondary education and school administration. He is completing the Ph.D. program curriculum and instruction at UNCC.
Professional experience: Davis spent the last 10 years in Cabarrus County as a middle school teacher and a middle school administrator.
Family: Wife Christina, who is an elementary school teacher, and two daughters, 5-year-old Hannah and 10-month-old Callie.
What is your philosophy on discipline? I am a consistent administrator who works with students so that they can make better choices. I say what I mean and I mean what I say. I think the most important part of discipline is educational. I want to correct behaviors that can be dangerous or problematic. In addition, discipline has to be coupled with consequences and rewards. Lastly, I believe that people will naturally make mistakes. With that said, each day is a blank slate with students. When they are disciplined, they return the next day with every opportunity and piece of assistance that all children have on a daily basis.Why did you decide tobecome an educator? I have always loved working with students. The energy and diversity that comes with being in middle schools is a wonderful thing. I do believe that teachers have the most important job in the world. There is no profession more important than that of an effective classroom teacher.
If you weren’t an educator, what would you want to do? I had contemplated being a social worker or a youth pastor.
Last book you read: “Just Like Jesus” by Max Lucado.
Favorite TV show: “Law & Order.”
Elizabeth Koontz Elementary
Name: Ricky D. Dunlap
Education:Dunlap graduated from A.L. Brown High School in 1990. Four years later, he earned a bachelor’s degree in physics and a secondary education certification from UNCC. Dunlap was a 2006 graduate of the UNC-C/Rowan-Salisbury administrative cohort with a master’s degree in educational administration.Professional experience: Dunlap taught science and math at China Grove Middle School for seven years. He taught science classes at South Rowan High School for three years. He served as assistant principal at Knollwood Elementary for three years.
What is your philosophy on discipline? It is important to establish a positive, nurturing environment in which students are actively engaged in their learning. Doing so will eliminate most of the typical discipline issues that arise.
Why did you decide to become an educator? I have always been one to assist others in areas that I have the knowledge/skills to do so. Throughout high school, I helped classmates, especially in math and science. Seeing the impact many of my teachers had on students, I felt the call to enter this profession.
If you weren’t an educator, what would you want to do? Chef.
Last book you read: “The Disney Way.”
Favorite TV show: “Iron Chef America.”
Granite Quarry Elementary
Name:Vicki A. BookerEducation:Booker graduated from Port Chester High School in Port Chester, N.Y., in 1969. She earned a bachelor’s degree in speech and hearing and a minor in elementary education from Shaw University in 1973. She went on to earn a master’s degree in school guidance and counseling from the University of North of Carolina in Charlotte in 1987. She also earned a degree in school administration from UNC-Charlotte in 1995. Professional experience:Booker began her career as a teacher at Vance Technical College in Henderson. Then she taught for a year at Warren County Schools before she became a hearing specialist for the former Cannon Mills in Kannapolis. She has also worked as a counselor at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College and an attendance counselor/social worker for Rowan-Salisbury schools. Booker served as assistant principal at Landis Elementary from 1995 until 2000. Then she spent six years as principal at North Rowan Middle. Since 2006, Booker has worked for Duplin County Schools.Family:Husband, Belvin, a son, Cori, a grandson, Jaydian, a dog, Gypsy, and the students and staff at Granite Quarry Elementary.What is your philosophy on discipline?My philosophy on discipline is a combination of assertive discipline and discipline with dignity practices.
Why did you decide to become an educator?I became an educator to instill hope into every child. Also, to inspire and to empower students to become successful, productive and law-abiding citizens of a greater community.
If you weren’t an educator, what would you want to do?Interior designer.Last book you read: “The Disney Way.”
Favorite TV show: “Extreme Makeover.”
Hanford Dole Elementary
Name:James (Jim) A. Griffin
Education:Griffin served in the U.S. Marine Corps. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Georgia College in 1990. He went on to earn a master’s degree in human resources and organizational development from Chapman University in 1993 and a master’s degree in education from Gardner-Webb University in 2002.
Professional experience:Griffin has worked as an educator and administrator for more than 25 years. He has worked as a teacher, assistant principal, principal and director of auxiliary services. He said he has served as a faculty member at Central Texas College, Park College and Haywood Community College.
Family:Wife Sheila (married for more than 31 years), daughter Tenisea, who is a fourth-grade teacher in Winston-Salem, son Aaron, who works as a production assistant at a television news station in Winston-Salem, and an English bulldog named Sarge.
What is your philosophy on discipline?I believe to increase good behavior you must be the role model first. I believe in the use of positive behavior support and progressive discipline.
Why did you decide to become an educator?I am a product of a broken home and an abused situation. I have survived in a home that is much like many of our students: violence, drugs, abuse and hunger … I want to make an impact on our futures as a people and a country. I see working with youth as a great honor!
If you weren’t an educator, what you want to do?Preacher or highway patrolman.
Last book you read:”The Disney Way.”
Favorite TV show:”Andy Griffith.”
Knox Middle
Name: Gerald MoragneEl
Education: MoragneEl earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Towson University in Maryland. He went on to earn a master’s degree in educational administration from the College of Notre Dame in Maryland.
Professional experience: MoragneEl served active duty in the military. He has worked as a medical laboratory supervisor. He has also worked as a teacher and administrator.
Family: Wife and two daughters.
What is your philosophy on discipline?I believe in the discipline of hope and, as Mr. Snider calls it, “the discipline of dignity.” What we look at as disciplinary problems are actually symptoms of students who are disengaging themselves from schools. These students are at risk of dropping out of school. We must identify what the root cause of their problem is so we can stimulate their intellectual curiosity and they will find relevance in being educated, which is their passport to opportunity even in a difficult world.
Why did you decide to become an educator? Someone else identified my gift and I was called to become an educator.
If you weren’t an educator, what would you want to do as a career? A TV anchor.
Last book you read:”The Disney Way.”
Favorite TV show: “Jeopardy.”South Rowan High
Name: Donald Knox
Education: Knox graduated from Herbert Hoover High School in Glendale, Calif. He attended BIOLA University in California, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in communication, radio and television. He received teaching credentials at another California college.
Knox earned a master’s degree in school administration from Appalachian State University. He earned a doctorate in educational leadership from Nova Southeastern University in Florida.
Professional experience: Knox worked for two years at a Christian school in California. He also worked for two years at North Hills Christian School. He taught science and social studies at China Grove Middle for five years and served as an assistant principal at South Rowan High School for four years. Knox also worked two years as the Rowan-Salisbury School System county athletic director. Most recently, he worked two years as an assistant principal at North Rowan High School.
Family: Wife Jennifer; daughters Christi and Amanda; grandchildren Kylie, Tyler and Lucas; three cats.
What is your philosophy on discipline? To be consistent and fair. I strive to help kids understand and take responsibility for their actions.
Why did you decide to become an educator? I wanted to be involved in kids’ lives. I want kids to know that they matter and that they have someone who cares about them.
If you weren’t an educator, what would you want to do? To have pursued a career in television as a news director and producer.
Last book you read: “The Samson Syndrome” by Mark Atteberry.
Favorite TV show: “Criminal Minds.”
West Rowan Middle
Name: Nancy H. BarkemeyerEducation: Barkemeyer graduated from W.A. Berry High School in Birmingham, Ala.She earned a bachelor’s degree with a double major in English and German and a certificate in secondary education from Samford University in Alabama. Barkemeyer went on to earn a master’s of education from Mississippi State University in reading. She also earned a master’s of educational administration and a specialist degree in curriculum and instruction from Winthrop University. She said she is certified in reading, language arts, social studies and German.
Professional experience: Barkemeyer began her education career in 1972 in rural Mississippi, where she taught reading, language arts and social studies. She has taught in middle schools in Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee, as well as North Carolina. Barkemeyer has worked in Mecklenburg and Cabarrus counties. In Mecklenburg, she served as an in-school suspension teacher, academic facilitator and classroom teacher. In Cabarrus, she taught AIG language arts and social studies.
She served as principal at Northwest Cabarrus Middle School for four years. She had also been an assistant principal there. Most recently, she served as the principal of Eastway Middle School in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg system.
Family: Husband Eric, married since 1972; daughter Julie is an attorney; son Rich is enrolled at N.C. State University after serving active duty with the U. S. Army; dog Sprite was rescued from a snowstorm at night by the side of the road in Winston- Salem four years ago.
What is your philosophy on discipline? The majority of students want to please and want to be successful and will follow what is requested and/or expected of them. Students should be treated with respect and given engaging, meaningful work at school. With most students, that is all that is required.
However, if a student is so disruptive that learning cannot take place in a classroom, there should be a consequence that will ensure a safe learning environment for all students and staff. I adhere to the Positive Behavior Intervention Support System where students are instructed on the expectations and earn incentives and privileges according to their behavior.
Why did you decide to become an educator? My grandmother was a teacher in a one-room school in rural Alabama until she had to retire at the age of 70. She was a single parent and raised six sons by herself. In addition, she was the driving force in that small community in North Alabama. Many of her students went to college because of her. I always admired and respected her and wanted to pattern my life after hers.
If you weren’t an educator, what would you want to do? A writer. While my husband was climbing the corporate ladder and we were moving from state to state I actually did some writing. I worked for a small newspaper for a short while in both Columbus, Miss., and Downington, Pa. I also did some special assignment work for the Philadelphia Inquirer about 25 years ago. I wrote a children’s book many years ago and have the rejection letters to prove it. Someday I’ll try again.
Last book you read: “A Thousand Splendid Suns.”
Favorite TV show: Re-runs of Andy Griffith.

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